While I was out of town with Maddy a few weekends ago, my husband was busy not only caring for Owen and Cora, he was also busy building the most incredible tree swing in the universe. It is probably about 25 feet high, which means that it has the most wide swing stretch ever.
Needless to say, Maddy, Owen, and Cora love it. They all race to it when we go outside, and they talk about it when they’re not on it. I have had to devise ways of demonstrating fair play and turn-taking (arm circles and day designations do not always cut it) while sneaking little ways of learning in along the way. . . all the while praying to myself that I don’t have a heart attack watching my babies soar into the clouds.
Here are some ways that help us to take better turns on the swing:
- Counting: The old-school way usually cuts it, but not after we’ve counted to 10 fifty times already in one day. We’ve tried to mix it up by having one person’s turn end after the swinger counts backwards, 5-1, counts in Spanish, and (this is totally crazy) counts backwards in Spanish.
- Spelling: Sometimes turns are over after a swinging kiddo spells first and last names (we help each other out and yell out a letter with each push), sometimes we spell our family’s names, our friends’ names, or our neighbors’ pets’ names (no joke).
- Rhyming: The waiting person calls out a word and the swinging kid calls out a rhyming word with each push, or we all take turns yelling a rhyming word with each push.
- Grouping: The waiting person calls out any word (colors, sports, cars, tv shows) and the swinging person yells out words that go with that topic with each push. (This is very hard for younger ones unless the topic is ‘cars’ which just happens to be Owen’s area of expertise, and I’m talking Lightening McQueen characters here, not models of cars.)
And so it goes, in our backyard, on sunny–I should say any day that’s not rainy–days. No wonder we’re so popular in our ‘hood . . .